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  • Morning Bell: State of Dysfunction

    Tonight, Americans who tune in to the State of the Union will watch the work of a rhetorical master with a flair for illusion. President Barack Obama will take to the floor of the Capitol in hopes of laying the groundwork for a political debate on his terms–one where he stands on emotional appeals, populism, and class warfare, not the shaky ground of his crumbling record. And looking right back at him will be the U.S. Senate, which has for the past 1,000 days failed to pass a budget–a total shirking of their fundamental duty to be diligent stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars.

    The President will thus rely on the power of his words. With flourish, he will tell the story of America through a progressive’s eyes–one where “fairness” takes on a new meaning, where America’s core values are brushed aside, and where the truth about a failed presidency is forgotten in the shadows of his country’s collective memory. The President will speak from the high ground of his vaulted office. The question is whether the elevation conferred by his office will allow him to escape the soaring deficits, depths of unemployment, or miles of job-killing regulation that his Administration has wrought.

    Before considering the President’s record, first consider his message–that economic populism is the core of America’s principles, that the federal government should be the guarantor of equal outcomes and that “fairness” of achievement should be decided by legions of bureaucrats in Washington. It is a theme that the President unveiled in a speech last month in Osawatomie, Kansas, and it’s one he plans to return to tonight. This vision is at the root of the President’s progressive ideal. It is not, however, the ideology on which our country was founded. The Heritage Foundation’s Matthew Spalding, vice president of American Studies and director of the B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics, explains:

    America is exceptional because it is dedicated to the principle of universal human liberty: that all are fundamentally equal by nature and equally endowed with unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This principle and the constitutional framework of law that enlivens it are the foundation of the American Dream…

    What is truly revolutionary about the United States is that the ladder of opportunity became available to everyone. As a result, poverty has been vastly diminished. Even more important, it is no longer a permanent condition from which there is no real possibility of escape.

    The “ladder of opportunity” exists so that people may apply their God-given talents and abilities in order to better themselves and pursue the American dream. That is the liberty that makes the United States unique. The President, though, does not stand for that dream. Instead, as he has made clear, he believes that it is through government engineering that society can advance–through more government power, federal education programs, economic regulations, and infrastructure spending, all funded by “fair” taxes on “wealthy” Americans.

    This sort of progressivism has its roots in 100 years of history and 100 years of failure. But the country need not look back into the annals of time to see the proof. They only need to see the President’s record of the past three years–facts that will undoubtedly receive short shrift in tonight’s speech.

    Obama enacted a purely progressive agenda with his expansion of the state under Obamacare, his trillion-dollar stimulus bill, the government takeover of the auto industry, the proliferation of regulations under the Dodd-Frank regulatory reform bill, the crony capitalism of the Solyndra scandal, and the illegal appointments to the unrestrained Consumer Financial Protection Agency and the National Labor Relations Board. The result: Some 13.1 million Americans remain unemployed, job creation has been abysmal for much of the past three years, and the President’s promise to turn around the U.S. economy has gone unfulfilled.

    Meanwhile, the Senate has largely acceded to the President’s agenda while leaving undone the budgeting process for the past 1,000 days. Instead of respecting the people’s money and putting it to its appropriate use, the Senate has chosen to pass short-term “business as usual” continuing resolutions, one after another, all while government spending continues to skyrocket, deficits are exploding, the country’s credit rating is in jeopardy, Social Security and Medicare are in crisis states, and future generations are left holding the bag.

    The President’s “populist” message is designed to appeal to the American people–and this is after all what all American politicians try to do. It is fair, however to ponder how the people have fared under the President’s policies. It is hard to miss the mass of unemployed Americans, the plodding economy, the businesses that are afraid to grow and expand, and the jobs that are being left on the table. It is understandable that the President will not want to bring up these “achievements.”

    Christopher Columbus discovered the New World in 70 days. The Empire State Building was built in 410 days. Yet for 1,000 days, the U.S. Senate has failed to pass a budget. Find out more in our newest video, “1,000 Days Without A Budget.”

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    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    33 Responses to Morning Bell: State of Dysfunction

    1. Mary......WI says:

      Over three years without a budget, Obamas failed term as president so far……blame the democrats. It seems it must be their way or no way. Republicans have offered at least 3 budget proposals all rejected by the dems and Obama. Republicans have compromised over and over again….but you won't hear that from BO.

      I will painfully listen to BO's speech tonight and keep a tally of all the mistruths spewing from his mouth. But I most look forward to Mitch Daniels rebuttal speech hoping it will resonate with Americans as to what is really happening in this country…..no candy coating and dodging the true problems this country is facing but the TRUTH as to where this current president is destructively taking this country, into the bowels of hell. And I'm sure the media will portray BO as the hero and saviour of America because they are too frightened, weak, and gutless to report the truth. ManyAmericans are still NOT LISTENING/AWARE of what is happening to this country…..please wake up and become informed. All is not well in the USA.

    2. I am most interested in knowing what channels on TV will be carrying shows with actors playing parts in fictional entertainment.

      I am not interested in one hour of an actor who somebody told, "With your ability to deliver fiction people believe, you should enter politics."

    3. Dave Ramos says:

      what's amazing is that Obama has ANY support. You have to really "stick your head in the sand" to ignore the obvious — Obama's socialist policies have really damaged the economic strength of this country.
      I am a bit disappointed that the Repubs in congress have failed to perpetually illustrate the consequences of his actions. It tells me we have quite a few "RINOS" in Congress. For that reason, it should be apparent that Romney is NOT the answer. I have faith that the majority of this country still is populated by true conservatives who understand the importance of limited-government and what true capitalism has done for this country. I maintain hope that conservatives will have a strong showing in November!

    4. Jeanne Stotler says:

      I have to do a monthly budget, first is mortgage, then utilities and food. I plan the later on what we can afford for that month. The powers to be seem to spend without looking to see what they can afford. BHO constantly harps on fairness, fairness is when EVERYBODY does their share, making it easy for some to sit home and collect welfare, food stamps, subsidized housing,etc. is NOT FAIR. Every healthy human should do some sort of work. When this country was founded, all worked or didn't eat (Jamestown and Plymouth) children past 7 pulled weeds, washed dishes, girls learned to sew and darn, Women kept house and took care of herb and kitchen gardens, Men hunted, tilled the main gardens, thatched roofs and guarded their componds. We should not look down on the poor BUT we should not have to support those who just choose NOT to work.. College isnot for everyone, encourage girls and boys to take jobs like waiting tables, driving buses, even picking up trash. An honest wage is NEVER a disgrace.

    5. Wes Evans says:

      Unfortunately the populist class warfare rhetoric is an effective political tactic. Envy is part of the human make up and is played to by some of those seeking power. It does not matter that liberal progressive economics have a record of failure the politics of envy work.

    6. Ron Lee says:

      I do NOT need to hear Obama's speech to know the state of this divided union. I didn't buy his story during his campaign (before his elction) and haven't bought any part of his campaign since his election. I can only hope, and pray, that there remain a sufficient number of Americans rooted in our moral fabric as a nation to overcome this anti American president. His goal is the complete, total, and irreversible destruction of the United States of America.

    7. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Once again, the author fails to truly understand Obama's ideology. It's not "illusion". It's deliberate. It's to drive this nation into communism. Why has the Senate not passed a budget or has no intention to do so?
      I'ts because if a budget was passe, under law (not that has any effect) they would have to control spending.
      If they are forced to control spending, the economy could begin to heal, and that's exactly what Obama
      does not want. He must collapse the economical system in order for his final plan to take effect.

    8. Spiritof76 says:

      The rule of law is perverted by the collusion of the president, Congress and the SCOTUS to mean anything, mostly against freedom of the individuals. The Congress does not pass budget as required-consequence:nothing. The president acts like he is a dictator-consequence:nothing. Scotus makes ruling against private property rights, thereby violating the intent of the Constitution-Consequence:nothing. We have lost our country and we act like the famous band on the Titanic that kept on playing while the ship was sinking. The experiment started by our founders lasted about 130 years and is now completely erased.

    9. I love the opening quote: "Tonight, Americans who tune in to the State of the Union will watch the work of a rhetorical master with a flair for illusion. "

    10. Greg Christy says:

      My frustration is how to get this message to the masses who are too lazy to learn the consequences for themselves, and only "know" what the proven liberally dominated and corrupt mass media feeds them. These are people who will vote in the fall for those who give them a "free lunch". This is the left's permanent constituency.

    11. Leith N. Wood says:

      We will not listen to Obama tonight to hear the same lies and socialist agenda spouted. He and his cronies think that this time it will all work, because they are so intelligent and big government is the answer to all our problems. What an arrogant bunch. The American people are not dumb. If it all worked, this country would not be in such a disastrous state. Vote them all out!

    12. smothers45 says:


    13. faye krause says:

      To quote a famous American, Thomas Paine, "These are the times that try men's souls" And particularly my soul. Afte three years of BO and his 3times a week speech on TV, I intend to curl up with a good book tonight or (thank goodness for cable) watch a movie on TV. I am almost to the point of (were he still with us) wanting to vote for John Wayne. What better man to come riding through the pass, save us from the enemy, and lead us to safety and peace. Wishful thinking, me thinks.

    14. Peter says:

      You have highlighted President Obama's State of the Union speech as an opportunity to identify his shortfalls. I would like to generalize that opportunity to address three other issues I consider important. This these three are a taste; the ones not here are a banquet.

      I consider Congress's failure to conduct its routine business to be at least as deplorable as President Obama's policies. I don't like much of what he's done, but I like Congress's lack of doing even less. Given the choice between re-electing President Obama and returning this Congress to office, I'll chose President Obama in a heartbeat.

      I am repelled by the Republican's gaggle of Presidential aspirants. That they could allow a serving soldier to be boo'd during a nationally televised debate, even if he was gay, shows a lack of moral strength which by itself disqualifies them from the office of Commander in Chief. That soldier defends us in combat, but none of the aspirants defended him. Conservatives claim to stand for a strong defense, but they will not stand in support of one gay soldier. Newt Gingrich plays to the audience when the targets are easy; where was his repartee when he could defend a soldier who defends him. Let the aspirants serve in combat. Until then let them stand with respect when a serving soldier enters the room

      But this is not the end. The Republican aspirants' groveling embrace of Creationism reaches a depth of pandering equalled by few and surpassed by none. If evolution is just a theory, then religion is just an opinion. Evolution is a theory in the same sense as Newton's theory of gravity. Each day the United States falls further behind other countries in its technical prowess. The President should be leading the drive to regain our technical superiority, not embracing superstition more appropriate to the eighteenth century.

      Tonight it is proper to evaluate President Obama's performance and highlight where it falls short. Tomorrow will be time to consider also the failings of others who want to lead our country. Then we can pick the one least bad. We will have no better choice.

    15. Dave Roberts says:

      Mr Brownfield is spot on with his commentary. As Mary commented, "All is not well in the USA." Wake up America!!! As Ben Franklin replied to the lady's query at the close of the Constitutional Convention, "We have given you a Republic, if you can keep it." I fear we are closer to losing it now than at any other time in the past 225 years. The Progressive tide must be turned back.

    16. Joan says:

      I must admit that I do not think I can listen to the State of the Union Address and hear lie after lie drip from Obama's mouth…..blaming the 'do nothing Congress' for all his problems. The Republicans were voted in to stop the endless spending. They are trying to do what they have been voted in to do. Why is it quiet on Solyndra? Other stimulus funds going to bankrupted companies? A President who loves to vacation; a current example of spendng $4 million of taxpayer dollars go for his Hawaiian vacation. A separate plane for Michele. Was that so necessary? Why do we not hear about $700 Million going to 21 Islamic States to rebuild Mosques? We borrow money to pay for that? It is not done here in the United States. Have we been rebuilding our Churches, Synagogues, etc. I do not think it would be right. We are supposed to have separation of Church and State. But, it is okay to give money to the Islamic Countries? That is money that should be used here in the United States. And, then we are threatened with cuts to Social Security/Medicare.

    17. toledofan says:

      The Obama presidency has been a failure no matter the spin; 9% plus unemployment, home foreclosures still going up, a weak dollar, trillions of dollars in debt, a double increase in the number of recepients gettting food stamp and government assistance, corruption gone amuck; Soylindra, Fast and Furious, Obamacare, and others, an extrtemely weak foriegn policy, the recess appointments, the Czars and the regulations they have tried to impose and to top off the list canceling the Keystone pipe line. So tonight, I'm sure, more of the same old redistribution, class warfare, blame congress for all the problems.

    18. T Wood says:

      I hate to even listen to his speech, it is all lies, telling the people things are getting better. I wonder for who things are getting better, I guess if you spend tax payers money to live it up on great steak dinners, seeing the country and staying at $10,000 a night hotel rooms, maybe for some things are better, as long as the tax payers are paying. I believe Newt Gingrich can make the change.

    19. Gil Exler says:

      Borrowing a tactic from Obama and the Democrats the Senate should always be referred to as " The do nothing, obstructionist Reid-Schumer Democrat Senate".

    20. Dr. Pete Kleff says:

      Why bother to watch this guy? He has never told the truth as far as I can tell. Reminds me of a line from an old song, "it's the same old song…"

    21. Enid Thoms says:

      Removing Obama from office is paramount. However, since our candidates seem to be flawed in one respect or another, I'm joining the movement to draft Jim Demint for President. It won't be easy to overturn the way things have "always" been done, but informed conservatives countrywide would jump at the chance to have Jim Demint for President. And he'd have enormously long coattails with new true conservatives running for Congress. Down with the "Establishment."

    22. Peter Mueller says:

      When is this president and his administration going to wake up to logical fact that this country can not SPEND ITSELF OUT OF DEBT!!!!!!!!

    23. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      1,000 days without a budget? That's an Obummer!

    24. Jack W Estes says:

      I wonder how the Obama's handle their personal finances without a budget? If it is like the national system with no clue what so ever, it must be some kind of magic how they get by month-to-month; the magic being the American taxpayers – obviously they have plenty of dough left to play golf and jet around the world at our expense. So at least he has spread some of the wealth of our country to his family. Too bad we don't all have that option.

      • Howie says:

        Perhaps Barry and Michele have a separate printer down in the White House basement, next to the one that the QE1 and QE2 administrators used to print off the hundreds of billions of dollars in monopoly money to buy federal debt obligations – effectively buying back our own debt by printing money with which to buy it back. Most likely the Obamas have some extra green ink and some of that fine 100% rag content paper that they use to print off their own funds.

    25. JohnL2 says:

      To classify Barak Obama a "rhetorical master" is quite misleading and basically untrue! Although Obama does use a lot of rhetoric, if one listens carefully, he uses many words to say absolutely nothing! His "speeches" are designed to confuse as many as possible with rhetoric that "sounds" as if he is saying something! "It is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing!" MACBETH/William Shakespeare

    26. CAGinTX says:

      I like this article and, in general, most of what I read here. The problem is that the majority of us who follow Heritage would probably vote for a "pet rock" before we would re-elect Obama. The folks who will re-elect him don't read your reports, don't listen to Fox News, don't tune-in to Rush Limbaugh, are not offended by a government with no budget, and don't care what made America great. They just go out and vote to protect their own self interests.

    27. Howie says:

      "From each according to his ability to each according to his needs" does not work, never did work, never will work. Marxism – socialism – has failed abysmally in every country in which it has been tried. Much of the Obama administration's agenda is masked by the blue smoke and mirrors put up by the compliant news media.

    28. Steve Dolata says:

      Why do we keep calling the pervasive failures "progressives?" If anything they are regressers!

    29. Joseph McKennan says:

      I will not listen to this state of the union speech. It will be a repeat of drivel that has been repeated over and over. I will read "Animal Farm" again about how some individuals are MORE EQUAL than others. I guess this 'class warfare' leader is more equal than the ones he claims to care about. What a farce life has become- when hardworking people who take responsibility for themselves are regarded as trash because they will not vote for a communist. There are more people on the dole that are registered democrats than there are people who support themselves.

      It amazes me that without a budget Obama, etal have put this country into such crushing debt. There are multitudes who think he is doing a good job in spite of elevated prices on virtually everything and joblessness at higher sustained levels since I can't remember. With no hope in sight … unless he gets voted out of office/

    30. Enid Thoms says:

      To pass a budget we must take over the Senate, and not with a RINO in the White House and the current "Establishment." We must elect more truly conservative Republicans in both houses and run a truly conservative, hard-working, experienced (in gov and private sector) knowledgeable, man of complete integrity–and that man is Jim Demint. Read his new book, "Now or Never," and join the movement to DRAFT JIM DEMINT FOR PRESIDENT.

    31. PADDY O says:

      How is it that Obama can threaten to veto Congressional bills before they are even formulated and lackey- wacky Harry Reid can make the statement- " It will not see the light of day" about every bill that congress is contemplating and yet have the Gonads to call it a do- nothing Congress? People who say they believe this are either talking point spouting Democrats or complete idiots!

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